The Casket of Time, Tímakistan by Andri Snær Magnason, published in Icelandic in 2013. 300 pages. Available in 14 languages.
“I loved this book so much — it is a cerebral tale, well told and unabashedly philosophical. It is dark, funny and grim.” New York Times
When things are looking bad and economists predict a massive financial crisis, Sigrun’s family is lucky – they can crawl into their black boxes and wait for better times. But one day, Sigrún’s box opens and she is confronted by an abandoned city in ruins, with everyone stuck in black boxes waiting for things to get better.
Sigrun meets a strange old lady in a house full of children and archaeological artefacts. The old lady tells them a story of a greedy king who conquered the world but yearned to conquer time. With a magical casket, transparent like glass but made of spidersilk, with such a dense weave that even time cannot penetrate the walls, the king can spare his beautiful princess the ugly days, the dark days, the rainy days, the normal days and the worthless days. One day a small boy opens the casket and the princess discovers that 20 years have passed, the kingdom is crumbling and the king has gone mad.
There seems to be a connexion of some sort between the old woman’s story and Sigrun’s world. She and her friends must find the link, which will hopefully show them how to fix the world.
Winner of The Icelandic Literary Award 2013 – (Children’s/ Young Adult)
Bookseller Award – Best YA book of 2013.
Winner of the West Nordic Children’s book award,
Nominated for The Nordic Councils Literary Award for Young Audiences.
Green Earth Honor Award 2020
USBBY Outstanding International Book of 2020